GAINESVILLE (CBSMiami) – The University of Florida Gators are pausing all football activities after “an increase in positive COVID tests among players.”
Several news outlets have reported a total of five football players have tested positive for the virus.
However, Payton Titus, the online editor for Alligator Sports, the sports arm of the school newspaper The Alligator, reports that number could be as high as 19.
— Payton Titus 😷 (@petitus25) October 13, 2020
Athletic director Scott Stricklin said the decision was made “out of an abundance of caution.”
Stricklin said head coach Dan Mullen has been in communication with football players and their parents. He added that the athletics department has been in touch with the SEC, Texas A&M, who the team played last week, and LSU, who the Gators play this week.
UF Health and the athletic department’s sports medicine staff will reevaluate the situation on Wednesday.
Mullen has been under fire for his comments following the team’s loss to the Aggies, where he believed the 24,709 fans in the stands played a role in the defeat.
“I certainly hope our university administration follows the governor,” Mullen said after the loss. “The governor has passed a rule that we’re allowed to pack the Swamp and have 90,000 in the Swamp to give us the home-field advantage Texas A&M had.”
Currently, The Swamp caps fans capacity at 17,000, isn’t allowing tailgating and masks must be worn while social distancing.
Ahead of the LSU game, Mullen was once again asked about his postgame comments on packing the stadium.
“Absolutely want to see 90,000 in The Swamp,” he said. “I don’t think the section behind our bench, I didn’t see an empty seat. It was packed. The student section, there must have been 50,000 behind our bench going crazy. Hopefully that creates a home-field advantage for us next week because now we passed a law in our state that we can do that. We want our students out there cheering us on to give us that home-field advantage.”
However, UF President Kent Fuchs shot that down, saying on Twitter that Florida “remains fully and firmly committed to following CDC guidelines for every part of our campus from classrooms to athletic venues as well as the guidance of our own experts and local and state health officials.”
UF remains fully and firmly committed to following CDC guidelines (https://t.co/xWvCfZxucp) for every part of our campus from classrooms to athletic venues as well as the guidance (https://t.co/NdKCumo9VZ) of our own experts at @UFHealth and local and state health officials.
— W. Kent Fuchs (@PresidentFuchs) October 11, 2020
The Southeastern Conference already has postponed one game this week: Vanderbilt and Missouri was tentatively pushed to Dec. 12 because COVID-19 issues have left the Commodores without enough players. It was the first SEC game rescheduled due to coronavirus-related problems and the 28th in the Football Bowl Subdivision to be postponed or canceled since Aug. 26.